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Great Western Minerals To Launch Preliminary Economic Report For Hoidas Lake

Great Western Minerals Group (CVE:GWG) says it will now undertake a preliminary economic assessment of its Hoidas Lake rare earth project in Saskatchewan based on what it calls "promising" large-scale lab results.

The rare earth processor, which produces specialty alloys used in the battery, magnet and aerospace industries, said Tuesday that combined beneficiation and metallurgical test work has "successfully produced" a rare earth rough concentrate, as well as a phosphate concentrate.

This was followed by further hydrometallurgical test work that produced a mixed rare earth carbonate and fertilizer - which can either be saleable products or used for further rare earth separation.

The lab results were from the Chinese institute with which Great Western has been working during the past two years, the company said.

The combined beneficiation-metallurgical process resulted in an overall rare earth recovery of 70.33 per cent, comprised of 38.68 per cent from rare earth rough concentrate and 31.65 per cent from apatite concentrate.

The phosphate recovery from the apatite concentrate was 92.5 per cent in the produced nitrogen-phosphorous complex fertilizer.

Great Western said the specifications of both the mixed rare earth carbonate and the fertilizer, according to the company's preliminary assessments, meet market requirements.

"The promising test results for our Neodymium-enriched Hoidas Lake project have confirmed the validity of our original assumptions on the processes that are most likely to be successful," said president and CEO, Jim Engdahl.

"The positive results from the large-scale lab work have led Great Western Minerals to move ahead with a PEA for Hoidas that will also address the issues of its remote location now that we have removed the metallurgical bottlenecks from the project."

Great Western is working to produce rare earths, which have use in a wide range of technologies, to ensure a strong flow of feedstock for its downstream processing at its two subsidiaries - Less Common Metals (NYSE:LCM) in Birkenhead, U.K. and Great Western Technologies (GWT) in Troy, Michigan.

The alloys produced at these locations contain aluminum, nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements (NYSEMKT:REE).

In addition to its four exploration properties in North America, one of which is Hoidas, the company also holds a 100-per-cent equity ownership in Rare Earth Extraction Co. Ltd. (Rareco), which owns a 74-per-cent interest in Great Western's past-producing Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa. The rare earth company is working to restart the South African mine.

The current NI 43-101 report for Steenkampskraal, filed on May 31, indicates the presence of 13,823.64 metric tonnes of total rare earth oxides (TREO), including yttrium, under the indicated resource category, and 14,147.76 metric tonnes under the inferred resource category, each using a one per cent cut-off grade.

The company intends to be one of the first to produce significant quantities of the more valuable heavy rare earth oxides, which are important materials for alloys.

Its Hoidas Lake property lies 50 kilometres northeast of Uranium City, Saskatchewan. The site is accessible by an all-weather road or scheduled air service to Stony Rapids and Uranium City, then by float or ski-equipped aircraft to the property.

In November 2009, an NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate was completed by Barr Engineering Co. using a 1.5% total rare earth element (NASDAQ:TREE) cut-off grade, which included 963,808 tonnes in the measured category at a grade of 2.14% TREE, and 2.57% total rare earth oxides, as well as additional tonnage in both the indicated and inferred categories.